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Information from the presidency and the Commission on standardisation activities, within and outside the EU, relating to electric vehicles.

Possible information from the Commission on internal market scoreboard No 20.

Presentation by the Commission on functioning of the internal market: implementation of the "internal market information system".

Information from the Commission-Services Directive-state of play of transposition information from the Commission -ITER.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: "Mobilising private and public investment for recovery and long term structural change: developing public private partnerships"-information from the Commission 16586/09 COMPET 496 ECOFIN 836 IND 173 MI 447 RECH 434 TRANS 469 ENER 411 ENV 836.

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: "A public-private partnership on the Future Internet"-Information from the Commission 15279/09 TELECOM 227 RECH 372 IND 144 ENER 359 ENV 747 SAN 291 TRANS 432.

Communication from the Commission-European Institute of Innovation and Technology: update on progress.

Information from the presidency-high level event on information and communication technologies for energy efficiency (ICT4EE) towards a sustainable society (Brussels 23 and 24 February 2010).

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The Government's main aims will be:

to outline UK priorities for a new EU industrial policy, particularly the importance of open and competitive markets;to support the council resolution on enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the EU internal market;in discussions on the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, to emphasise the UK priorities set out in the Prime Minister's EU compact for jobs and growth;to agree a decision on the participation by the Community in a joint Baltic Sea research and development programme being undertaken by several member states and a regulation on the European earth observation programme (GMES) and its initial operations (2011-13);to adopt a council resolution on the governance of the European research area, including a new mandate for the Scientific and Technical Research Committee (CREST) which will strengthen that body's strategic role in the definition of European research policy; andto adopt council conclusions in response to the recent evaluation of the mechanisms and structures of the European Research Council and council conclusions on researcher mobility and careers issues.

EU: Education Council


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): I represented the UK at the Education Council, on behalf of DCSF and BIS.


The council had only two substantive agenda items-adopting the joint progress report on the education and training work programme, and a debate on the role of education in the upcoming EU2020 strategy. Also, Androulla Vassiliou, the new Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, presented her priorities for forthcoming work in the area of education.

The presidency introduced the joint report on the implementation of the education and training 2010 work programme. While advancements have been made across the key competencies and agreed benchmarks, low literacy levels and drop-out rates remain a concern. The council adopted the report without further comments.

Ministers discussed the role of education and training for the Europe of 2020, based on a presidency discussion paper which argued that education must play a central role in ensuring that Europe is a leading, competitive, knowledge-based economy. All countries supported the key messages in the text, notably the need to upgrade skills, promote mobility, foster innovation at all levels of education, and increase the links between the education system and employers.

A number of member states underlined the importance of focusing on current and future skills needs. I also spoke on the importance of an outcome-based approach

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to the EU's open method of co-ordination and noted the need for an individualised approach to learning.

The Commissioner concluded by calling for increased, targeted investment in education, a more innovative higher education area, and greater flexibility between the world of education, employment and wider society. She also revealed President Barroso's plans for EU2020, including his proposal that the benchmark on 40 per cent tertiary level education attainment should be one of five priority benchmarks for the upcoming EU2020 strategy.

The council was followed by a lunch debate on social inclusion and social responsibility through education and training. This focused on the balance between promoting equity and excellence, and will lead to council conclusions to be agreed by Ministers later this year.

Identity Commissioner: Annual Report


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department (Alan Johnson) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

We successfully launched the National Identity Service in Manchester on 30 November. So far, over 5,000 people have been issued with identity cards and the number is continually growing. These people are already starting to see the advantages of having an identity card-using it to prove and protect their identity and for travel to Europe.

The Identity Commissioner provides independent oversight of the National Identity Service and has already begun to look closely at the way the service is delivered. I am pleased to lay before Parliament the first annual report of the Identity Commissioner. His early impression, that the Identity and Passport Service are "doing a pretty good job", is welcome. But the Identity Commissioner is not complacent, neither am I. I endorse his priorities for scrutiny in the coming year: data sharing; exploiting the benefit of identity cards; and the security and integrity of the technology of the National Identity Service. I look forward to seeing the result of his work in the coming months.

Since the beginning of the year, roll-out of identity cards has continued to grow. On 4 January we extended eligibility to people across the North West and since 8 February, young people aged 16 to 24 living in London have also been able to apply for an identity card. Furthermore, over 21,000 people throughout the UK have registered an interest in applying for an identity card and I have made a commitment that anyone who registers their interest through the Directgov website before 30 June will be able to apply for an identity card. Identity cards are a convenient and universal proof of age as well as a credit-card-sized alternative to the passport when travelling in Europe.

Copies of the Identity Commissioner's report will be available in the Vote Office.

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Local Transport Act 2008


The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): My right honourable friend the Minister of State for Transport (Sadiq Khan) has made the following Ministerial Statement.

The Local Transport Act 2008 enables the Secretary of State to confer additional functions, through secondary legislation, on the Rail Passengers' Council, the statutory rail passenger watchdog known as Passenger Focus, in relation to buses, coaches and trams.

The Government are announcing that the Passengers' Council (Non-Railways Functions) Order 2010 comes into force today. The Order extends the council's remit so as to give bus, coach and tram passengers in England outside London statutory representation for the first time. It also changes the statutory name of the Rail Passengers' Council to the Passengers' Council, although it will continue to be known as Passenger Focus.



The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Yvette Cooper) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to inform the House that, from April 2010, a series of increases will be made to lump sum payments paid to individuals suffering from mesothelioma and certain other qualifying diseases under the Pneumoconiosis etc (Workers' Compensation) Act 1979 and the 2008 Mesothelioma Scheme. Together these schemes mean that all people suffering from mesothelioma can receive lump-sum awards from the Government quickly after diagnosis, in addition to weekly state benefits.

There is no requirement on Government to uprate payments under the schemes but we have previously committed to increasing payments in line with those to state benefits. We have laid regulations to increase payments under the 1979 Act by 1.5 per cent from 1 April this year despite the negative growth in the retail price index. This will increase the value of such payouts to these very vulnerable people.

I can also announce that we are increasing the level of payments made through the 2008 mesothelioma scheme to bring them up to those under the 1979 Act.

The 2008 scheme was introduced to provide up-front financial support to those people who previously were not eligible for help from the Government's other compensation schemes. The scheme is funded by compensation recovery-compensation recovered from individuals who are successful in a civil damages claim but who have already received a payment under the 1979 Act or 2008 scheme. When we started the scheme in 2008 we set awards at a level consistent with the amount of recoveries we expected to make; a lower rate than the 1979 Act. We made it clear, however, that

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we intended to bring 2008 scheme payments to the same level as those under the 1979 Act at the earliest opportunity. Our expectation was that we would be able to do this in the scheme's third year of operation.

I am pleased to inform the House that we are able to honour our promise sooner than expected and will be increasing payments to 1979 Act levels from April 2010, only 18 months after the 2008 scheme started. This means that those receiving a lump sum payment for mesothelioma will receive the same amount whether they were exposed to asbestos at work or exposed elsewhere, such as through washing their partner's clothes or by living close to an asbestos factory.

Finally, I am announcing an increase in the level of payments made to most dependants under both the 1979 Act and the 2008 scheme.

We recognise that the terrible effects of mesothelioma are not limited to the sufferer and that their families also have to cope with the effect of the disease on their loved-one, witnessing their pain, suffering and ultimately their death. While we do acknowledge this by making payments to the family of someone who dies of mesothelioma and other dust-related diseases-such as pneumoconiosis, byssinosis and silicosis-these payments have been paid at a much lower rate than those to sufferers during life. We listened to the arguments put forward by stakeholders and honourable Members, who feel that this situation is unfair to dependants and can put added stress on sufferers and families at already extremely difficult times. We made a commitment to look at reducing the difference in payment to sufferers and dependants as funds became available.

We are now able to do this and from April the majority of dependants receiving awards under the 1979 Act and 2008 scheme will receive a £5,000 increase. Those who already receive close to the amount paid to the sufferer will receive a proportionate amount, bringing their award up to the level of that paid to the sufferer in life.

These changes all take effect from April 2010.

Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Baroness Thornton): My honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Phil Hope) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am publishing the independent Nutrition Action Plan Delivery Board's (NAPDB) end-of-year report on progress by health and social care organisations in implementing the Nutrition Action Plan to improve the nutritional care of older people in hospital and those living in care homes. I have placed copies of the report and our response to the NAPDB's findings in the Library and copies are available to honourable Members from the Vote Office. I am grateful to the chair and members of the NAPDB for their work in overseeing the first year implementation of the Nutrition Action Plan.

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In completing their task, I congratulate the board on its work to raise awareness of the links between nutrition and good health, and the risks to vulnerable groups within the populations, such as older people living alone. The NAPDB report adds to the evidence base to help us address the complex factors that determine malnutrition-for example, loss of appetite associated with age and/or illness, including absorption problems or the need for assistance in eating and drinking. Many of the report's conclusions and recommendations align with our policy on nutrition and programmes under way to improve health and social care services.

Office for Judicial Complaints: Annual Report


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Jack Straw) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

With the concurrence of the Lord Chief Justice, I have today published the annual report of the Office for Judicial Complaints (OJC). The OJC provides support to the Lord Chief Justice and myself in our joint responsibility for the system of judicial complaints and discipline.

I welcome the publication of this report, the third produced by the OJC, which details the work undertaken by the OJC in the past year, and the complaints with which it has dealt.

The OJC's 2006-07 report marked the first occasion on which comprehensive details of complaints received about judicial office holders had been made available to the public. I am pleased to note that the OJC continues to build on this foundation and believe that

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this report highlights the continued progress made by the OJC in delivering a high quality, effective and transparent service to all of its complainants.

The Lord Chief Justice and I are keen to ensure that the disciplinary process for judicial office holders is both transparent and accountable. As we announced in April 2009, we have agreed that, where a judicial office holder has been removed from office following disciplinary procedures, there should now be a presumption that both the identity of that judicial office holder, and the reason for their removal, should be made public. While mindful of this presumption, we will none the less continue to make decisions about disclosure on a case-by-case basis.

Where a judicial office holder has been subject to a lesser sanction than removal, this presumption does not apply, however, we will continue to give consideration to the disclosure of relevant information in cases that have attracted a high degree of interest from the public and media.

Copies of the report are available in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office. Copies of the report are also available on the internet at

Parole Board


The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): My right honourable friend the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (Jack Straw) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have reappointed Sir David Latham as chairman of the Parole Board from 25 February 2010 for a period of 12 months or until the future status of the Parole Board has been resolved following the consultation, The Future of the Parole Board.

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